One to watch: Octavius J. Johnson on ‘Ray Donovan’, interview

Every series it seems has a character that was never meant to factor prominently in the series, yet it just happens.

Before you know it they’re a cast regular because that actor makes magic from what could have been a limited shot on the show.

Dean Norris did it with “Breaking Bad’s” Hank Schrader, Michael Marisi Ornstein did it with Chucky on “Sons of Anarchy.” Octavius J. Johnson is now doing it on Showtime’s hit series “Ray Donovan.”

Octavius J. Johnson, 18, plays fictional entertainer Marvin Gaye Washington, 15, on “Ray Donovan.”

Dubbed “The Black Justin Bieber” on the show, Washington found himself immediately on the wrong side of Ray Donovan (played by Liev Schreiber).

Johnson talked to Monsters and Critics to talk all things Marvin Gaye Washington.

Monsters and Critics: Your character lives in Calabasas, do you film there? How is the mood on set with Voight and Schreiber?

OJJ: Yes, we do film in Calabasas, where my character Marvin Gaye Washington lives next to the Donovans.  The mood on the set is great – and it’s a really great cast to be a part of.  Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Voight are legends, so it was really great to work on the show with them.  As you saw recently, I had some pretty physical scenes with Liev and he gave me a lot of advice on how to do the stunts and the physical stuff you saw.  I had never done work like that before, so learning from someone with his experience was great.  

M&C: What is the longevity of your character-will  you make it into season 2?

OJJ: While I can’t give too much away on what happens with Marvin, I can tell you that we will see more of him this week on the show.  I’m so excited that the show has been renewed for a second season, and I can only hope that I’ll be a part of the show.  When I was originally cast for the role, I was only supposed to be a guest star with maybe one or two episodes.  Having my character and me stay for six this season has been wonderful for me.  And I hope that viewers want to see more of Marvin Gaye Washington!


M&C:  The love interest angle with Ray’s daughter, talk about it, it seems very sweet and organic. Will ‘Ray Donovan’ ever approve?

OJJ: You have definitely seen by now that Ray Donovan does not approve of the relationship with his daughter Bridget.  It really did begin organically since we are neighbors.  It was a very sweet relationship and evolved, but you can see that got my character into some trouble this week! When Ray throws Marvin into the car, it looks like it could be the end of him.  And that was after he was so angry with Marvin for bringing a gun into the house when he stormed in earlier.   Marvin is a bit of a trouble maker, but he means well and does really care for Bridget.

M&C: The psychology of your mom essentially signing away her rights and “selling” you to your musical mentor and Ray’s neighbor has to have some repercussions in your behaviors, how you process that abandonment. Can you  talk about how that will surface in your character?

OJJ: As Marvin had said to Abby – his mother was a drug addict and the second she found out that she was getting paid, she must have told the wrong people.  I think that Marvin has a lot to deal with there, not only her selling him and then being killed, but then suddenly becoming someone’s possession.  He said “Hey Mr. Donovan, did you buy me yet?” with a smirk but this could be another reason why he acted the way he did in the Donovan’s house, including dancing on the dinner table.  

Marvin’s character is likable and even as far back as the audition, that’s what they were looking for to come through me.  He is a kid from Compton and doesn’t even know who his dad was, so there is a lot going on.  But I do think that he is ultimately likable and charming.  We’ll see what happens!

M&C:  Who are you favorites on the series so far? 

OJJ:  Everyone is so welcoming and warm that I don’t even think I could pick a favorite.  It’s been a dream come true working on the show and we never knew when we started how big it would become.  Working next to Kerris Dorsey, Jon Voight, Liev Schreiber, and everyone in between in my first real television role!

M&C:  If you could tell Justin Bieber anything, what would you advise him?

OJJ: I’ve been a fan of Justin Bieber since the early days and I am looking forward to hearing his next musical endeavor. We are compared on the show, but I think that is just because of our singing!  Well at least I hope so!

“Ray Donovan” airs Sunday at 10 PM ET/PT

On the Next Episode Ray, Terry, and Bunchy remember their sister Bridget on the anniversary of her death.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.